How can we beat Antisemitism


16 Shevat 5780 / February 11, 2020

It was never supposed to happen again! But here it is – happening everywhere! For years the festering cancer of Jew-hatred has been growing and spreading, but most were too politically correct even to pay attention, let alone discuss it, until the shots rang out in Pittsburg, then again in Poway and then in Jersey City, and then the Hanukkah stabbings in Monsey, not to speak of the now daily and mostly unreported assaults on Jews in Brooklyn, New York and other Jewish centers. And not to speak about the hatred, attacks and literal pogroms against Jews and Israelis – one and the same tribe – now being witnessed across the whole of Europe, the Moslem world as well and elsewhere.

If Jews in America have been profoundly shaken by the latest outrages in the land that was to be the bastion of freedom from religious persecution, this testifies to a massive failure on the part of the established Jewish community institutions –the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and most of the others – whose very mission was to guard against any resurgence of the ancient evil cancer that attacked satanically in the Holocaust. All the Holocaust education, speeches, conferences, memorials, museums and all the rest have done nothing to diminish Jew-hatred or instill even the least contrition in today’s propagators and perpetrators of this scourge, whether among the “white supremacists”, the “Nation of Islam”, the “Moslem Brotherhood”, Iran’s “Revolutionary Guards”, etc. etc.


Living in the Past

The self-appointed guardians of America’s Jewish communities were asleep to what has been developing. This is because they were living in the past and searched only for signs of some resurgence of Nazism as was, while ignoring and papering over contemporary Jew-hatred in all kinds of other guises – in major Christian denominations, among sectors of the black and other ethnic groups, and particularly among the swelling numbers of Moslems who have moved to most parts of the U.S. in recent times. Those “guardians” were not paying attention to the rhetoric of radical Moslem infiltrators into campuses across the country or to that of the left-wing academics who now dominate most colleges and even schools.

Those “guardians” preferred to see the unceasing terror attacks and Jew hatred in the “Middle East” as Israel’s regional problem. Major American Jewish organizations implicitly blamed Israel for Arab aggression and terror, consistently supporting their stance that Israel must trade “land for peace”. This was in spite of the obvious fact that the “Peace Process” which began in Oslo in 1993 has led to nothing but a nightmare of terror and barrages of missiles from Lebanon and Gaza aimed against Tel Aviv, Haifa and other Israeli targets with the ever-present threat of simultaneous Arab uprisings across Israel and in what Jewish “liberals” continue to call “the occupied territories”, i.e. the ancestral heartland of the Land of Israel. The liberal assimilated Jewish conscience could never grasp that the 1993 Clinton-Arafat-Rabin handshakes in Washington merely sealed the end-times pact of the Ox and the Donkey, Edom and Ishmael, against little Jacob.

Likewise, the American Jewish “liberals” have felt unable to raise all the obvious concerns about the massive influx of Moslems into Europe and America etc. because they think to themselves: “Were not our parents and grand-parents immigrants to this land? How can we as successful, assimilated Americans do anything but welcome more immigrants (particularly if they provide cheap labor)?” These “liberals” forget, of course, that their immigrant forebears had fled their countries of origin on account of unremitting and unending Jew-persecution, and when they arrived in America, they received absolutely no welfare or other assistance. They sought refuge in a country whose proud boast was to guarantee religious freedom, while many of the present-day immigrants have no intention of accepting the norms and ideals of Big Satan America but rather seek to impose their own constricting religious law on all America, under which the Jewish liberals are to convert or be wiped out as heretics.

The root of the contemporary Jewish “liberal conscience” lies in its being a modern-dress incarnation of the mind-set of the classic Golus-Jew of the exile, who in a vain quest for security in face of the volatile Goyim all around, felt compelled (except for Mordechai) to bow down and fawn to them. Humiliated by generations of crushing degradation, the wavering Jew questioned his own antiquated, seemingly decrepit tradition while embracing every fad of the nations. In contemporary terms this translates into the Jewish liberal championship of every “humanitarian” cause (except for the endemic Jew- and Israel-hatred across the world). Jews are conspicuous supporters of gays, gender fluidity, sex change, alternative life-style, freely available legal abortion, confiscation of citizens’ arms, abolition of the Second Amendment, Black Lives Matter, BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel’s purported oppression of the “Palestinians”, etc. etc.


The liberal solution to the Jewish conscience

Deep down in the heart and soul of the “liberal” Jew is an unacknowledged, guilty awareness of the heavy obligations of the Torah of his ancestors. But he seeks to cast them from himself forever because they are inconvenient and contradict his secular life-style choices, his appetites and pleasures. In order to justify his freedom to do as he pleases, his conscience compels him to stand up for everyone else’s freedom and license to do what they please. He soothes any residual pangs of conscience by casting himself as the champion of all just causes (except that of his own people) and tolerance for all – even for the grossly intolerant.

Similarly, in Israel, the secular elite, who love nothing more than to jet all over the world, desperately feel the need to be accepted by the nations through showing we are no different. This is particularly damaging in the case of the country’s Supreme Court judges, Attorney General and legal mafia, who go out of their way to contrive favorable rulings for terrorists and other enemies of Jews and Israel, while consistently ruling against heroic Israeli soldiers, Jewish settlers and the Torah observant sectors of society. The simple reason is that the Israeli legal establishment crave to be accepted as “woke” by the post-modern, fantasy-ridden jurists of the international courts of “Justice” and “Human Rights” in Strasbourg, the Hague, etc.

While Tel Aviv boasts itself to be the gay capital of the Middle East and the rainbow parade is now an annual curse on the streets of the Holy City of Jerusalem, the Israeli army prides itself on being the most ethical army in the world. Indeed, it is! But in this case, the army elite do not come near to other “civilized” nations, who kill, wound and destroy their enemies without conscience (as in the bombings of Dresden and Vietnam and countless other atrocities until today). Israeli army “rules of engagement” are so ethical that officers frequently endanger the lives of their own soldiers in action in order to protect Arab civilians harboring ruthless terrorists in their midst. They thus follow in the tracks of King Saul, who was so over-righteous that contrary to G-d’s explicit command, he took pity on the captured king of the Amalekite nation who sought to annihilate Israel. Did the Amalekites thank him? Not only did Saul lose the kingship; he let the Jew-hatred cancer fester forever.

Decades of failure by successive Israeli governments to give adequate protection to its citizens from terror and to destroy the cancer at its roots have led to a situation where today the southern half of the country live in daily fear of rockets, missiles, balloon and tunnel attacks from Gaza while Hezbollah in the north acquire ever more heavy weaponry and the generously-financed leaders of the “Palestinian Authority” tirelessly travel the world fanning the flames of Israel (=Jew) hatred at international conferences, on campuses, in mosques and every other possible venue. And I have not even mentioned the threats uttered daily by the Iranian leadership.

The present shock of the Jews of America (many of whom remained apathetic through years of Arab hatred, wars and terror attacks against Israel) is because the blight of Jew-hatred and violence seen already for decades across “enlightened” Europe suddenly burst out in the “Land of the Free” with the mass shootings in Pittsburg and San Diego and the Monsey stabbings.


“If someone comes to kill you, kill him first!”

That we Jews need to defend ourselves proactively is obvious. This is one of the great pillars of Torah law, which detests murder: If someone is coming to kill you, get in there first and make sure you kill him – if that is the only way you can stop him. Long before today’s “Neighborhood Watch” patrols and Brooklyn’s “Guardian Angels,” over fifty years ago, Rabbi Meir Kahane (may HaShem avenge his blood) understood perfectly the vital urgency of serious Jewish self-defense both in America and elsewhere in the Diaspora and in Israel. But just as in the case of earlier prophets of Israel, like Zechariah son of Yehoiyadah the High Priest, who was murdered in the Temple on Yom Kippur, Isaiah, who was killed by King Menasheh, and Jeremiah, who was persecuted all his life, Rabbi Kahane was marginalized, ostracized and demonized as if he was a fomenter of racism and hatred rather than the fountain of love, human kindness and compassion that he truly was. Until today we see in Israel in the shameless political machinations against the “Otzma Yehudit” party the same determination by the Israeli mafia elite to marginalize any group who dissent from the suicidal policies of Israel’s “enlightened” “democratically elected” despots.

It would be a typical Golus-Jew approach to try to hush the public outcry against the current spike of attacks on Jews, as if too much noise might further antagonize the Goyim. But do marches and protests against hatred do anything to quell that hatred? We most certainly need the support of the surrounding population and the presence of people like the “Guardian Angels” in some areas is truly heart-warming. Jewish neighborhoods need adequate policing. All Jewish institutions, synagogues, schools, community centers etc. need proper security. Yet our apparent need for such “protection” is on a deep level humiliating because it involves a painful Chillul HaShem (desecration of the glory of the Lord) in the fact that His chosen people, who should enjoy protection from Above under an unseen Cloud of Glory, His Presence, are in fact sitting-duck targets wide open to the blows, knives, bullets and missiles of our enemies. (Yet it is an attested fact that many times, intended attacks on Israelis and Jews have been miraculously frustrated in amazing ways.)

I cast no blame whatever on the victims of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel attacks, so many of whom have been left with the most horrific, permanent, life-changing injuries, scars and disabilities, not to speak of those who have lost their lives. G-d alone is the Judge and He alone knows the secrets of why bad things happen to good people.

What Jews of all colors, complexions or creeds, Ten Tribers, Noahides and all lovers of Israel need to examine is the root spiritual causes of this menacing current wave of Jew- and Israel-hatred, and what is the message that G-d is sending us. For we believe and know that He alone governs the entire universe in every single detail, and nothing whatever occurs unless He so decrees.


Halachah: Esau hates Jacob

We are taught that it is a halachah, a basic law of existence, that “Esau hates Jacob”, Esau being the personification of the Evil Inclination, the Angel of Death and the Accuser on High, as embodied in all those in all the generations who hate and fight spiritually and physically against Jacob’s descendants, the Nation of Israel.

When Esau wept because Jacob had received the blessings, Isaac “compensated” him with the blessing in Genesis 27:40: “By your sword shall you live, and you shall serve your brother, but when you grow restive, you shall break his yoke from your neck”. Rashi in his commentary on this verse explains that Esau’s “restive” sense of hurt would be aroused when Israel transgress the Torah, thus justifying Esau’s rage over Jacob’s having taken the blessings, and Esau would then break Jacob’s yoke from his neck.

This is the psychological mechanism deep within certain kinds of Goy that is set in motion when Jews stray in some degree or other from true Torah observance, namely unconditional service of G-d on every level of thought, speech and action. This is how G-d’s rod of chastisement “works” through the various different kinds of Jew- and Israel-haters, who are usually consumed with extreme anger and unacknowledged jealousy.

There is often no visible connection between some “antisemitic” outburst and a particular deviation, small or large, from the Torah on the part of one or more Jews. This is because G-d is “patient and slow to anger” and does not punish the sinner immediately but waits, in order to give him a chance to repent by himself as long as his “measure” is not complete. Yet even a seemingly minor deviation can have serious indirect consequences, as exemplified in a famous Hassidic story about a follower of Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezritch, leader of the Hassidic movement after Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. The hassid came to the Maggid and told him the shocking news of the murder of a Jew in a far-off town. The Maggid said this occurred because of an explosive outburst of anger by that very hassid some days earlier, despite the fact that this took place a long way away and there was no visible connection between the two events in the physical world.


Father’s Rod

Whenever Israel strays from the Torah, the loving Father longs for His children to return and as a prompt and a wake-up call, He menacingly wields the rod of chastisement, whether in the guise of white supremacists, black supremacists, Islamic terrorists or any other of our many enemies, visible or invisible: “My children! You must repent!”

If any “observant” Jews were previously inclined to blame the surge of “Antisemitism” on the less-observant, the non-observant, the assimilated, the “Mixed Multitude” or any other sector, they have been decisively repudiated by the attacks on orthodox synagogues and the Monsey stabbings. It is just that synagogues and long-bearded, non-violent Jews dressed in long black coats and black hats are the easiest targets and conspicuous representatives of the Jewish people. In the hate-intoxicated mind of the resentful, angry, uncouth Goy they are from one and the same tribe as all the other notorious Jewish crooks, criminals, perverts and other deviants – Bernie Madoff, Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, twisted clowns like Jerry Nadler, Chuck Schumer and Adam Schiff, a sinister ogre like George Soros, the “Jewish bankers, Freemasons, Sabbatians, Satanists, Elders of Zion etc. etc. With so much media attention focused on high profile scandals involving Jews, not to speak of the endless, insidious anti-Israel “fake news” spewed forth day after day by news media across the world, is it any wonder that discontented goyim all over find no better scapegoat for all their woes than the Jews and Israel?

Could it be that deep in the collective unconscious of the nations – who themselves have oppressed Israel for thousands of years – is an incessant, gnawing pain that this very oppression has caused Israel to fall from their level as G-d’s chosen nation of priests? Could it be that like a raging child who furiously rains blows on the very one that seeks to benefit him, the angry goy attacks whoever he associates with his demonized image of the Jew or Israeli because they fall short of the true level of the priests that he and all the world desperately need to lead the way to knowledge and service of the One God and to draw salvation and blessing to all?


Torah for the Nations

In earlier periods there were very sound reasons why the Jews in exile were unable to proselytize and convert non-Jews to Judaism or even preach to the world about the Torah Noahide code for the nations. In both Christian and Moslem countries any hint of a Jew trying to influence a non-Jew could cost that Jew his life, often together with the lives and property of his family, fellow Jews and even of the non-Jews involved. It was impossible for the Jews to express publicly the true Torah stance on the surrounding expressions of paganism dressed in pious Catholic, Moslem or other guises in the countries where they lived in constant peril of their lives. Thus Judaism turned into a matter of private individual conscience that had to be secretively hidden away from the wider population. (Contrast this with the many cases in the Talmud and Midrash where we find the leading sages in Roman times in active dialogue with gentiles, some sincere, others merely provocative, on a multitude of Torah matters.)

Today we are at the end of the exile, and although quite obviously thick darkness still holds sway all over, there are also amazing manifestations of the dawning light of Redemption in the form of the unprecedented arousal to Torah among individuals, groups and whole tribes of many different complexions and backgrounds in literally all parts of the world.

Moreover, today we have Israel, where although there is still a long way to go for the light of Torah to shine to all the population and where there are still many de facto constraints on the Torah-observant community, including virtual censorship in large areas of the public arena, it is nevertheless possible to observe and teach Torah with relative freedom. And through the alternative media of our day – through Internet websites and social media – it is possible to reach souls in almost any part of the world in ways that were simply unavailable in any previous generation.

What does the Torah-observant community have to offer the surrounding peoples? Among the ultra-orthodox the same secretive Golus approach to Torah knowledge and practice persists to the extent that even Jews who are considered not quite frum enough, are excluded from their circles either literally or through invisible but palpable walls of coldness and rejection. The news media of the Torah community are full of disputes, feuds and arguments between different groups and viewpoints, religious or political. If we stand for the ending of discrimination on grounds of race, what do we have to say about the discrimination in “observant” Jewish communities between Ashkenazi and Sefardi or Ethiopian Jews?

If Torah is all about peace and Israel seeks only peace, why is it that her own would-be political leaders are unable to make peace among themselves and to cooperate for the welfare of the nation instead of squabbling incessantly and entirely paralyzing the country’s government? As for talking to the Goyim, in the last few years some forward-thinking rabbis began encouraging lovers of Torah and Israel among the nations to stop being shy and to know that they too may voluntarily observe many of the commandments. These rabbis brought decisive proofs from the classical rabbinical authorities. And what happened? Their fellow rabbis publicly shot them down and threatened them with excommunication.

Why is it that young people from the post-Christian, post-modern, decadent, pagan cultures of the west – many of whom like, Greta Thunberg, are in deepest despair about the state of the world – have been streaming to Islam in search of meaning, while Torah faith and wisdom, which are the only truth that will endure at the end of days, are ignored, marginalized, demonized and considered totally irrelevant?


What about the spiritual holocaust?

If we fear a new holocaust and wonder if the ancient Islamic dream of Jews helplessly seeking refuge behind trees from their Jihadi murderers might be a plausible scenario, why is their hardly any outcry or even awareness of the spiritual holocaust that has caused the loss of over seventy percent of born-Jews in America to intermarriage with non-Jews, resulting in a whole new generation of countless “captive children” whose Jewish heritage and identity has been almost totally erased?

I was present in a very prestigious, wealthy, nominally orthodox synagogue in Britain when the then Chief Rabbi, the late Rabbi Lord Immanuel Jacobovitz, publicly stated in a sermon that someone entering an average British synagogue during a prayer service might have difficulty discerning if today was the festival of Purim or the Tisha B’Av fast commemorating the destruction of the Temple. Most if not all of the time in such places of “worship,” minimal attention is given to the chore of the actual high-speed davening, while all the emphasis is on who received the honors, what are the prospects for today’s match and what are the best investment and property options.

A glance at the weekly magazines and supplements that circulate among the “ultra-orthodox” communities both in Israel and outside indicates that at the very least the advertisers certainly believe their target audiences are mainly interested in extravagant fashions for men, women and children of all ages, attractive wigs, cosmetics and beauty treatments for women, flashy cars, glamorous properties and furnishings, lavish catering for celebrations and luxury vacations and getaways. What are the luckless goyim at the bottom of the ladder expected to make of that?

The authentic Torah way is one of modesty in all aspects of lifestyle, clothing and material consumption. The true Jew and Jewess are “worker-priests and priestesses”, out there in the thick of the material world, serving G-d Almighty through the practice of Torah in the home, on the road, at work, in business and everything else from birth to death, bending the physical to serve the spiritual, servants of the All High.


Search within and reach out

The only way for us to “reach out” to the Nations of the World is first to reach deep down into our hearts, to confront our own barriers and resistances to the embrace of our exalted role as ambassadors of the G-d of Israel with all our hearts, our souls and all our might. It is impossible for us to call for greater spiritual awareness among the Goyim if we ourselves rush through our devotions in flight from naked, honest, face-to-face connection with our Maker, if we have no time for praise and song to the One who sustains us every day, every hour and every second of our existence in such beautiful and gracious ways.

Throughout the sad history of Israel’s fall from the Torah as documented stage by stage in TaNaKh, particularly in the book of Kings, we find that even in periods when there was a revival of Torah faith and observance, the people never felt able to pull down their “High Places”, the Bamot, private altars where they persisted in offering their own sacrifices even though sacrifices anywhere other than the Temple in Jerusalem was strictly forbidden. At root the flaw of one who wants to sacrifice to the All High on his own private altar rather than in His Temple is that the person puts his own prestige and honor before G-d’s explicit commandment in the Torah (Leviticus 17:3-9) and before the honor of His Holy Temple. The Bamah is an expression of the person’s haughtiness, as if he himself is worthy to be the priest when the true purpose of the sacrifice is to teach him to humble himself and efface his ego before G-d. There is great merit in building a synagogue or study hall or establishing some other Torah organization or movement for the benefit of the immediate or wider community, but when the motives of those involved are mixed with a thirst for recognition and prestige, the “sacrifice” involved borders on sacrifice at a “high place”, the person’s pride.

All who mourn for Zion and the Holy Temple and long for the restoration of Israel and the Redemption need now to pull together and set aside our squabbles and jockeying for prominence. The war against Jew hatred is our war against those who hate HaShem – and we fight it by joining together in harmony and reaching out to all those who love Him. But if we seek to draw the world to G-d, we ourselves need first and foremost to turn to Him directly in prayer, repentance and acts of charity and kindness. Only when we make the effort to discover for ourselves something of G-d’s ways can we hope to help teach others about Him.

This is something each one of us can do, and in the merit of our each and every gesture of Teshuvah, love of G-d and love of our fellows, He will surely turn to us in love and quickly bring about our Redemption.



About the author

Avraham ben Yaakov

Avraham ben Yaakov is a Torah teacher based in Safed Israel & author of translations and commentaries on Bible, Hassidut, Kabbalah, Spiritual Growth, Health & Healing.

By Avraham ben Yaakov

Avraham Ben Yaakov

Avraham ben Yaakov Greenbaum is a Torah teacher in Tz’fat (Safed) in Israel’s Galilee, and author of translations and commentaries on Bible, Hassidut, Kabbalah, Spiritual Growth, Health, Healing and the Environment.

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